Succession Planning: There’s no one like you – but that’s a good thing.

Succession Planning: There’s no one like you – but that’s a good thing.


Here’s the great succession planning quiz:

How many companies have strategically planned for a seamless, well orchestrated succession planning model and had it actually work out as well (or better) than they had anticipated?

  • 100% – No way.
  • 80& – You are dreaming!
  • 60% – Incredibly unlikely.
  • 40% – No chance.
  • 20% – You are getting warm.
  • None – Bingo.

Succession planning has not, does not and will not work unless we challenge and change the way we do it.

Succession planning should work.

It makes sense that it should work.

The idea of creating a succession plan for an organisation to sustain the quality of it’s leadership makes a lot of sense. In principle, a good succession plan provides an organisation with the opportunity to maintain strong, stable, quality leadership in the long term and continuity of leadership during times of change.

But succession planning does not work.

This is a huge problem for organisations all over the world.

And why? Because too many current leaders think that there are no great new leaders coming through the system.

The current generation of leaders believe that the “Gennies” – Generation X, Generation Y and Generation I (as in I for Internet, I for I phone and I for “I am the only one that matters”) are all disorganised, disgruntled, disturbed, dis-engaged, dysfunctional and disruptive.

Wrong – there are some outstanding, talented, brilliant young leaders coming through the system. Leaders that have the potential to take your organisation (and the world) into a fantastic future. Amazing young people who will change the world – if they are given the opportunity. Kids who can learn more and learn it faster than you ever dreamed possible. Generation Y and I leaders with the potential to turbo charge your business with new levels of energy, enthusiasm and intelligence.

What you are really saying when you say “there are no good leaders on the horizon” is “there are no leaders LIKE ME coming through the system”.

This is the real succession planning problem – current leaders are looking for people to replace them – not to succeed them and be greater than they are.

Succession planning is about excellence: not ego. It’s about growth, performance enhancement and accelerated improvement – not replication, replacement or resentment.

For your business to succeed, the next generation must be different and better than you. They have to be. You don’t want another leader like you – you want one who is better than you. “Better than me?” I hear you say agog with incredulity.

Think about it.

We know that in the future technology, communications, transport, information and all other areas of life will be smarter, faster, better. You want your company to be part of this smarter, faster, better world and ideally to even lead it by being even smarter, faster and better than anyone else.

So how can you achieve this if the next generation of leadership – your success-or, is not smarter, faster and better than you are?

Look at the word….SUCCESSION… tells you right there what succession is all about.

The aim is to succeed – not copy, not duplicate, not replicate or even dedicate – it’s all about guaranteeing the long term success of the company by ensuring that the future leaders are smarter, stronger, faster….better. Like the six million dollar man only with a suit, tie, Gold Frequent Flyer card and an I-Phone!

There are some amazing young leaders coming through – young leaders who can change the world – and your business – and even you – if they get the chance. Give it to them!

Wayne Goldsmith

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